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Welcome to The Visible Embryo, a comprehensive educational resource on human development from conception to birth.

The Visible Embryo provides visual references for changes in fetal development throughout pregnancy and can be navigated via fetal development or maternal changes.

The National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development awarded Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Grants to develop The Visible Embryo. Initally designed to evaluate the internet as a teaching tool for first year medical students, The Visible Embryo is linked to over 600 educational institutions and is viewed by more than ' million visitors each month.


WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform
The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a new Web site to help researchers, doctors and patients obtain reliable information on high-quality clinical trials. Now you can go to one website and search all registers to identify clinical trial research underway around the world!



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Pregnancy Timeline by SemestersFetal liver is producing blood cellsHead may position into pelvisBrain convolutions beginFull TermWhite fat begins to be madeWhite fat begins to be madeHead may position into pelvisImmune system beginningImmune system beginningPeriod of rapid brain growthBrain convolutions beginLungs begin to produce surfactantSensory brain waves begin to activateSensory brain waves begin to activateInner Ear Bones HardenBone marrow starts making blood cellsBone marrow starts making blood cellsBrown fat surrounds lymphatic systemFetal sexual organs visibleFinger and toe prints appearFinger and toe prints appearHeartbeat can be detectedHeartbeat can be detectedBasic Brain Structure in PlaceThe Appearance of SomitesFirst Detectable Brain WavesA Four Chambered HeartBeginning Cerebral HemispheresFemale Reproductive SystemEnd of Embryonic PeriodEnd of Embryonic PeriodFirst Thin Layer of Skin AppearsThird TrimesterSecond TrimesterFirst TrimesterFertilizationDevelopmental Timeline
Click weeks 0 - 40 and follow fetal growth
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June 17, 2011--------News Archive

Postnatal Depression Linked to Depression in Child
The effects of maternal depression on the likelihood of the child to develop depression may begin as early as infancy.

First Diagnostic Test for Hereditary Child's Disease
A breakthrough in genetic research has uncovered the defect behind a rare hereditary child’s disease that inhibits the body’s ability to break down vitamin D.

Walking, Sex, Spicy Food Favored to Bring On Labor
Near the end of pregnancy, some women take it upon themselves to try to induce labor, mostly by walking, having sex, eating spicy food or stimulating their nipples.


June 16, 2011--------News Archive

Effects of Premature Birth Can Reach Into Adulthood
Premature infants are less healthy, have more social and school struggles and face a greater risk of heart-health problems in adulthood.

Mouse Genetics Are A Resource For Human Genetics
Mouse gene knockouts will empower mammalian gene studies for a generation.


June 15, 2011--------News Archive

Taming the Molecule's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Two forms of a molecule are called enantiomers and can have radically different properties in biology. Thalidomide is a good example of how different forms of the same molecule can have disastrous consequences.

Fear Activates Young, Immature Infant Brain Cells
Fear burns memories into our brain, and new research by University of California, Berkeley, neuroscientists explains how.


June 14, 2011--------News Archive

Malnourished - Pregnant or Lactating - Key to Diseases in Children
Study in primates establishes critical role that undernourishment in mothers-to-be and lactating females has in creating type 2 diabetes in offspring.

We Are All Mutants
The first whole-genome measure of human mutation predicts 60 new mutations exist within each of us at birth.

Canadian Women On Technology Used in Childbirth
This generation's choice of C-section does not reflect knowledge of the procedure's complications to mother and child.


June 13, 2011--------News Archive

Cell Division Linked to Oxygen Levels
Johns Hopkins reports that the MCM proteins, which promote cell division, also directly control the oxygen-sensing HIF-1 protein which controls cell division.

Many Genetic Keys Needed to Unlock Autism
Hundreds of small genetic variations are associated with autism spectrum disorders, including an area of DNA that may be key to understanding why humans are social animals.

Children Eschew the Fat - If Dad Says So
Dad's choice of where to eat could literally tip the scales on his children's health.

Mom's B Vitamins Lower Child's Colorectal Cancer
Mice born to mothers who are fed a diet supplemented with B vitamins are less likely to develop intestinal tumors

WHO Child Growth Charts

Estimated numbers of new mutations in two families. Each lightning bolt represents one new mutation found in the child: mutations from Dad are in orange, from Mum in green. [Genome Research Limited]
Each one of us receives approximately 60 new mutations in our genome from our parents.

This striking value is reported in the first-ever direct measure of new mutations coming from mother and father in whole human genomes published today.

For the first time, researchers have been able to answer the questions: how many new mutations does a child have and did most of them come from mum or dad?

The researchers measured directly the numbers of mutations in two families, using whole genome sequences from the 1000 Genomes Project. The results also reveal that human genomes, like all genomes, are changed by the forces of mutation: our DNA is altered by differences in its code from that of our parents. Mutations that occur in sperm or egg cells will be 'new' mutations not seen in our parents.

Although most of our variety comes from reshuffling of genes from our parents, new mutations are the ultimate source from which new variation is drawn. Finding new mutations is extremely technically challenging as, on average, only 1 in every 100 million letters of DNA is altered each generation.

Previous measures of the mutation rate in humans has either averaged across both sexes or measured over several generations. There has been no measure of the new mutations passed from a specific parent to a child among multiple individuals or families.

"We human geneticists have theorised that mutation rates might be different between the sexes or between people," explains Dr Matt Hurles, Senior Group Leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, who co-led the study with scientists at Montreal and Boston.

"We know now that, in some families, most mutations might arise from the mother, in others most will arise from the father. This is a surprise: many people expected that in all families most mutations would come from the father, due to the additional number of times that the genome needs to be copied to make a sperm, as opposed to an egg."

Professor Philip Awadalla,who also co-led the project and is at University of Montreal explained: "Today, we have been able to test previous theories through new developments in experimental technologies and our analytical algorithms. This has allowed us to find these new mutations, which are like very small needles in a very large haystack."

The unexpected findings came from a careful study of two families consisting of both parents and one child. The researchers looked for new mutations present in the DNA from the children that were absent from their parents' genomes. They looked at almost 6000 possible mutations in the genome sequences.

They sorted the mutations into those that occurred during the production of sperm or eggs of the parents and those that may have occurred during the life of the child: it is the mutation rate in sperm or eggs that is important in evolution. Remarkably, in one family 92 per cent of the mutations derived from the father, whereas in the other family only 36 per cent were from the father.

This fascinating result had not been anticipated, and it raises as many questions as it answers. In each case, the team looked at a single child and so cannot tell from this first study whether the variation in numbers of new mutations is the result of differences in mutation processes between parents, or differences between individual sperm and eggs within a parent.

Using the new techniques and algorithms, the team can look at more families to answer these new riddles, and address such issues as the impact of parental age and different environment exposures on rates of new mutations, which might concern any would-be parent.

Equally remarkably, the number of mutations passed on from a parent to a child varied between parents by as much as tenfold. A person with a high natural mutation rate might be at greater risk of misdiagnosis of a genetic disease because the samples used for diagnosis might contain mutations that are not present in other cells in their body: most of their cells would be unaffected.

Publication Details: Conrad DF et al. (2011) Variation in genome-wide mutation rates within and between human families. Nature Genetics, published online 12 June 2011
doi:1038/ng.856

This work was supported by Wellcome Trust, the Ministry of Development, Exploration and Innovation in Quebec and Genome Quebec.

Participating Centres: Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK

Ste Justine Hospital Research Centre, Departments of Pediatrics and of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Bioinformatics Research Center and Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

Program in Medical and Population Genetics, The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Five Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA, USA

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which receives the majority of its funding from the Wellcome Trust, was founded in 1992. The Institute is responsible for the completion of the sequence of approximately one-third of the human genome as well as genomes of model organisms and more than 90 pathogen genomes. In October 2006, new funding was awarded by the Wellcome Trust to exploit the wealth of genome data now available to answer important questions about health and disease. http://www.sanger.ac.uk

Original article: http://www.sanger.ac.uk/about/press/2011/110612.html